Once upon a time, I got a call from a redheaded beauty who asked me to meet for coffee and a walk. It was in that meeting that this college aged girl, named Brittany, who was seeking to grow spiritually asked if I would be her mentor. Now, when people ask me this question, they could be asking a myriad of things. To some people having a mentor means having a friend who is older than you. To others, it means having someone you call when you are in need of advice. To some it means accountability and others it means just having a person to pray for you. And still some see a mentor as their personal guru that they hang out with all the time and wait for wisdom to just rain down from their presence. (This option is not available with me).
Brittany said she wanted to grow in her understanding of Jesus and the Bible. This came at just the right time. The stars and the moon could have been colliding. God had been rising up in me an idea, two words. Wounded Collision. He had invited me to do something with those words and had given me a perspective of Him and who He is when He collides with broken humanity. This perspective greatly tied in with my own story of finding God and how I see Him working in our world.
I looked at Brittany and said “Great! Would you like to get together and look at scripture where Jesus collides with wounded people and see what He does?” (By the way, when I say wounded people, I mean all of us. I use this word interchangeably with broken people, sinful people, messed up people, hurting people, crazy people, “perfect” people. We are all wounded, hurt, marred, swimming in the dark, often lost, confused, angry, envious selfish beings, wounding each other and ourselves .) Brittany said yes. It turns out she had some friends who also wanted to come.
So I made a pound cake and some lemonade and anticipated a couple college aged girls to walk into my living room and we would watch Jesus run into someone in the New Testament and learn from that collision. Twenty some girls walked into my living room. I started frantically making more lemonade and pulling stale snacks out of my pantry.
That was the first night of many. For a few years, young women would pile into a living room and collide with Jesus. It was life changing for all of us. There were women who received healing for sexual abuse, feeling voiceless, and a deep struggle with inadequacy. Jesus met each and every one of us. He not only met us, but He called us to live like Him- to collide with other broken people and love them as He did. We started seeing the likes He ran into: religious bullies, people with gross nasty skin rashes, sluts who would sleep with your boyfriend, people who have no loyalty and would betray you on the fly. We were called to love these kinds of people, not in a “I say I love them, but I fake it” kind of way, but in a real, organic,nitty gritty, in the flesh, in my own backyard kind of way.
After a few years, most of the young women had graduated and moved off to “real jobs” and adventures all over the world. The four girls who were still in school wanted to keep meeting. I prayed and the Spirit told me He wasn’t interested in an “us 4 and no more bible study.” He said He didn’t want to drive this thing into the ground but He had other plans. When I asked God what those other plans were He said, “Its time they teach this message.”
I went back to the four girls left and told them what God said. I then suggested we try an experiment. I learned from a friend a long time ago…if you call something an experiment and it fails, it’s totally ok to have tried. This releases you with more freedom to risk failing and do BIG things. So I challenged these 20-somethings. You have studied Jesus colliding with people. Now it’s your turn to teach the message! Will you take on this experiment with me? We will get together, look at a collision and then we will teach it. These girls, who had seen Jesus call the least likely people to do amazing things, beyond what is possible, they knew they had to trust that Jesus could use them too. They said yes.
That experiment was our first Collide. We invited other college girls to come and collide with Jesus and 50 some came, then 80 and so on and so forth. We invited real live women with real live stories of brokenness and real live faith to come and share. As we did, some of the older women came to teach and loved it and wished they could come participate too. So we decided to try another experiment and have an intergenerational day with women from First Presbyterian Church. We did and they loved it. We started to see that God was moving, shaping, building something out of nothing.
We now have women who are 17 and women who are 87 sitting on the same pews. We now have women who believe in child baptism worshipping right next to women who have never been baptized. We have meth addicts walking in the doors to collide with Jesus right along with professors, doctors, lawyers and pastors. We have hundreds of women coming to collide with Jesus on the day of, but also online as they read stories about who He is and Your stories from sojourners who have run into Him. We have people getting help for self harm, suicidal thoughts right along women using discovering their gifts and using them to help others. We have people who have known God their whole lives seeing Him in new ways right alongside people who are meeting Him for the very first time. They are blown away together. We now have an amazing ministry team of women who put on the Day of events, an Advisory board, a team of counselors that partner with us, speakers and teachers from all over sharing their wisdom and stories. It is awesome! This Jesus is continuing to collide with lives and change them in amazing ways. Big things are happening and Big Collide news is on the way. Be on the lookout, for His love is fierce and He can do anything. Once upon a time can often feel like “now”. But “now” is what God often uses to shape something beyond what you can even see or imagine. I am more than excited for where He is going and how He has gotten there! More to come soon….